finding your purpose

Finding Your Purpose: How Writing a Book Can Help

Finding your purpose in life can seem impossible, but we can tell you how writing a book can help. Now, you may already have dreams of writing your own book, as so many people do. The reality is that—while many of us have big dreams, only 1% of us dreamers actually take the plunge and become published authors.

There are many reasons why it’s easier to dream of authorship than it is to make it happen. Lack of time, life commitments, perfectionism…so many diversions and excuses along the way can put an end to our dreams of becoming an author before the writing process has begun.

Finding Your Purpose: How Writing a Book Can Help

When your book is written and published, certain doors may open for the first time: You can make new connections, grow your business, and earn new sources of income. These are the tangible benefits of writing a book, but what about the deeper meaning?

Writing your book and becoming an author can instill your life with something beyond a better job, more money, or more networked connections: Writing a book can create a new meaning in your life. For some lucky authors, writing a book can be the gateway to finding their unique life purpose.

Here are some of the purposes in life you can explore as a newly minted author:

Purpose #1: A Job and Life You Love

Life is fleeting. Many of us are so entrenched in the daily routine of work, work, and more work that we have to force ourselves to stop and take a look around. When you lift your nose from the grindstone, you may find yourself wondering, “Is this ALL there is?”

Have you ever wondered if you could take a step off the corporate carousel? What if you can engage your own personal notion of success, rather than what the commercials on TV are selling you? Becoming a self-published author may pave the way.

Once you’re a published author, you can leverage that success into new products—from a book series, to courses, lectures, and keynote speaking engagements.

The sky is truly the limit. If you can imagine it, it can happen. You can finally step off the hamster wheel and create a job and life you love. Don’t you owe it to yourself to take that chance?

Purpose #2: To Help People

One of the great privileges of the human experience is our ability to empathize with others. Simply by sharing an experience that you’ve had in your own life or a challenge that you’ve overcome can help lift someone up and inspire them to face the same challenges. You can literally change your readers’ lives for the better with your words.

Moreover, by sharing your experiences with the world, you become the narrator of your own life. You’re the one in control of your story, your destiny and your narrative.

Ultimately, by controlling the story, you take control over your past, and by extension, your future. By helping others, you may ultimately be helping yourself. How incredible is that?

Purpose #3: Fuel Your Passion

Each and every one of us has something in our life that we’re passionate about. The beauty of it is that we all have different passions, based on our unique life experiences, personalities, and circumstances.

Your passion project may be fueled by a life-long love of something—be it dance, or cooking, or animals. For others, their passion project is fueled by the need to educate others about a cause close to their hearts.

If you’ve recently overcome cancer, your passion might be educating others about the steps you took to overcome this major health crisis. No matter what challenges you’ve faced in life, you have a story to tell that can help others.

Your own unique voice will shape your passion project into something that will inherently connect with others that share similar circumstances. Simply by writing, you can help someone learn, cope, or find another voice to share their own life challenges—or to celebrate shared victories.

Your passions and experiences can impart a deeper meaning into your own life, as well as the lives of others. You just have to commit those experiences to print in order to make that connection.

Purpose #4: Make Yourself Immortal

Artists have known for thousands of years that the creation of art lives on beyond the grave. In fact, some of the most famous painters didn’t become widespread names until after they died.

You don’t have to be staring at a dire diagnosis to have the urge to create a lasting legacy. The power of the written word is that it’s indelible and enduring.

By writing your book, you create something that can be shared with future generations. Your children, your grandchildren, and their grandchildren will have a lasting testament of your story.

Knowing your words and thoughts will survive you is a powerful feeling. Writing a book affords you a sliver of immortally, and who doesn’t want that?

Purpose #5: Build a Financial Future

It’s true that money doesn’t give our lives meaning. However, the way you choose to spend your hard-earned cash can create meaning for yourself and others. A well-crafted financial plan can build a future for you and make a lasting impact toward causes you care deeply about.

Earnings from your book can go toward creating a non-profit, investing in a charity, or simply paying off your debt so your life has less stress and so you can enjoy your time while you’re here.

Money can’t buy happiness, or meaning, but you can use your book sales earnings to build something bigger than yourself.

When you look back at your life, you want it to be something you’re proud of. Writing a book can impart your life with a meaning that you didn’t even know was possible. Take the chance to make your own life a story that you don’t want to put down.

Sign up below for our FREE course to learn how to go from blank page to bestseller in 90 days!

Self-Publishing School Success Summit

Announcing the Self-Publishing Success Summit 2016

Stop what you’re doing right now and read on, or else you might be left out. We’ve reserved a free ticket for you to attend THE biggest online publishing event of 2016!

We’re thrilled to announce our 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit. Mark your calendars for the dates June 12- 22, 2016 because you literally cannot afford to miss what we’re sharing with you.

What Is the Self-Publishing Success Summit?

Our Self-Publishing Success Summit was created in order to give all writers the complete skill sets to create massive opportunities for themselves. The Summit teaches aspiring and seasoned authors alike how to navigate the pitfalls of the publishing landscape.

During this virtual summit, some of the top self-published and traditionally published authors impart their knowledge and business secrets to writers at all levels. Why do they want to do this and help with this passion project? Because they’ve once walked in your shoes.

Writing can be very intimidating. Even those who love to write worry about taking the leap into publishing. Many never actually publish their finished work. Why is this?

Traditional publishing is a tough nut to crack, there’s no guarantee that even the most well-written, fascinating book will break through and score a publishing deal. There’s always self-publishing, right? This is true. Self-publishing is available to everyone, but requires a fair amount of skill and knowledge to hit that elusive best seller list.

So, what’s a budding writer to do? Find support, my friend, and we give it to you. For free (have we mentioned it’s free?)!

Sold yet? You should be, here’s why …

Tell Me About the Summit Speakers…Are They Famous?

You bet!

Last year, over 30,000 people attended the Self-Publishing Success Summit and the line-up of speakers was nothing short of incredible. 2016 promises to be bigger and better, featuring more than 40 bestselling authors and uber-successful entrepreneurs who bootstrapped their way to elite status, wealth, and industry accolades.

Self-Publishing Success Summit speakers include Gretchen Rubin, author of blockbuster New York Times bestsellers Better Than Before, Happier at Home, and The Happiness Project. Rubin’s books have sold more than a million print and online copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages.

Gary Vaynerchuk signed a 10-book deal with HarperStudio for over $1,000,000. His first book, Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion, reached #1 on the Amazon Best Seller list for Web Marketing books, opened at #2 on the New York Times Hardcover Advice bestseller list and #7 on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller List.

James Altucher is the author of 17 books, including WSJ best-sellers The Power of No and Choose Yourself; Altucher’s I Was Blind But Now I See reached #1 in Amazon.com’s motivational books.

ABC’s Shark Tank star and New York Times best-selling author Barbara Corcoran’s latest book, Shark Tales, is a national bestseller.

Aside from the high-wattage stars, we’re also featuring hot up-and-comers who have landed #1 book spots. These people broke the rules and are creating the lives they want, and they can tell you how to follow in their well-paid footsteps.

Take note that this is revolutionary, since it’s the very first time these authors have spoken together at one event! Some of these renowned speakers charge thousands for appearance fees. Now, you get a chance to see them all in one place for FREE—without leaving your home (because who loves long lines at airport security and mediocre hotel food)?

Sounds Great…What Will I Learn?

Our guest speakers have experienced life with a capital “L.” We’re talking self-doubt, heartbreaking divorces, financial hurdles and poverty, the weight of depression, soul-crushing jobs, but they’ve overcome and came out the other side. Now they are happy, successful, and fulfilled.

Prepare yourself to learn their secrets to becoming a best-selling author and how to turn your book into a business. The Summit will reveal to you proven tactics to become a best-selling author; some speakers will even to teach you how to grow your own business. It’s also about the mental game YOU need to play to earn your own success.

Get ready to learn the success tactics gleaned from years of real-world pro experience including:

  • The fast and easy 3-step approach to become an author
  • Marketing and publishing secrets of international bestsellers
  • How to land high-paid speaking and coaching gigs
  • Exactly how you can use your first book to get to six figures…on your terms
  • What it takes to start an information product empire
  • Hard-won blueprints, systems, and success shortcuts

I Don’t Want to Miss Out! How do I Get my FREE Ticket?

I know you’ll love the Self-Publishing Success Summit because it’s the only way to get 100+ years’ experience on becoming an author and growing a business in one place—uncut, unfiltered, and absolutely free.

The Self-Publishing Success Summit 2016 will take place on June 12-22, 2016. Writers can sign up to view the event live for free.

It’s all streaming online, so you can watch from home, meaning no plane tickets or days off work. You can watch every presentation for 72 hours (then they’ll be locked away in the private vault).

Attendees can pay for an All-Access Self-Publishing Success Summit Pass ($97 for the early-bird rate up to June 16). The All-Access Pass includes unlimited lifetime access to the master class video library so writers can delve into the writing, publishing, and book marketing process in a no-pressure environment.

There’s just one catch: I only want you to claim your free ticket if you’re ready to take action on what you learn. These experts spent decades and millions of dollars discovering these success principles, strategies, and mental frameworks. Some of these experts have charged over $1,000 per hour for their advice and counsel. Others aren’t available for 1-on-1 help at any price. But they’re happy to pay it forward and gift you their best ideas gratis. We only ask that you take their advice so you can start living the life of your dreams.

If you’ve ever wished you could sit across the table from your favorite author or entrepreneur and pick their brain about how they got to where they are now … you do not want to miss this.

Just click here to get your free ticket now. You won’t regret it!

JOIN THE SUMMIT

how to get your blog noticed

8 Ways to Get Your Blog Noticed

When you’re an author, it can be hard enough to carve out time for writing books—but blogging, too?

With our tips, you’ll learn how to get your blog noticed. Add in some sweat equity, and you can create a standout blog that your readers will love to share.

1. Speak to One Person

It may seem as though it would make sense to try and attract as many readers as possible, but there’s a reason that focused, niche blogs tend to do so well.

To connect to your audience, it helps to think of one person you’re writing to who would love to read your blog. This person might be a good friend of yours, a favorite aunt—or better yet, a mishmash of people that represents the brand you speak to—otherwise known as a customer avatar.

Choosing this imaginary person you’re blogging for will help you keep your posts personal and conversational, and it will also aid in refining your niche. If your ideal blog reader avatar loves walking in fields and picking wildflowers, but you suddenly start writing about tailgating in parking lots before sports games, you might think twice.

If you can create a niche blog which appeals to a very specific audience, then the readers that find you will be passionate about the topic and your posts. A niche can forge a real connection with a specific audience.

2. Refine Your Blog’s Voice

Now that you know who you’re talking to (step 1) you need to think about who is doing the talking. I know it’s you—but which you? The one who shows up at church on Sunday with your hair combed and wearing a nice suit? The one who chats confessionally with her girlfriends over glasses of wine? Or are you a trusted advisor, doling out advice?

To find your voice, it helps to determine what exactly you want your blog to accomplish. As with all your other writing endeavors, you want your blog posts to have a purpose and a vision. Figure out the tone, flavor, and purpose for your blog, and the voice will become clearer.

3. Be Consistent

Any professional who uses blogging as a key revenue driver for their business understands that consistency is THE key to audience building.

Figure out your schedule for blogging, whether it’s twice a week or once a month, and STICK TO IT. When you blog consistently, your audience knows they can come to you for timely, relevant content on their favorite topics.

And new visitors to your site will tend to stick around—they’ll see that you update regularly and they’ll know your site isn’t a graveyard.

The most important decision you can make is choosing a doable schedule. Twice a week might sound easy, but you risk falling behind if you go on vacation. Make sure that no matter what, you can fulfill this obligation to yourself and your audience. This might mean posting less often than you think is “ideal.”

Blogging superstar Marie Forleo only posts once per week. Why? Because she says that promoting your posts and your blog is the most important thing you can do.

If you’re bogged down by blogging, it’s too hard to get the word out about your writing. And now let’s talk about getting the word out…

4. Guest Blog for Other Sites

Guest blogging is a win for all involved. When you write a blog post for another web site, not only are you helping them fill up their editorial calendar, you’ll gain new exposure from the web site’s audience.

How do you find web sites to write guest posts for? Check out this fantastic list of web sites you could guest post for, conveniently arranged by topic. Be sure to take note of any specific contributor’s guidelines. Not following the submission guidelines will probably result in not being chosen.

When you get chosen to write a guest post, be sure to include a short bio with a link to your blog, if allowed. Ideally, that link will be to a page on your blog that offers up a free, valuable piece of content in exchange for the reader’s email address. That way you can send your growing email list updates when you post on your blog.

5. Inform Facebook Friends and Followers

One of the best, easiest ways to get your blog noticed is through savvy use of social media. If you don’t want to use your personal profile to promote your blog posts, then set up a page on Facebook. This should include a title and description of your blog.

Use your Facebook blog page to share new posts and relevant news with your community. When the time gets closer to write and promote your book, use Facebook posts to countdown your writing timeline, celebrate the completion of your draft, and later, to share dates regarding book release parties and signing events.

Remember that when promoting your blog on Facebook, interaction is key to building a following and a community. Ask and answer questions, respond to comments, and invest in your followers’ interests. That way you’ll create a loyal audience who will look forward to sharing your posts.

6. Consider Instagram

Instagram is a visual paradise for those who love the creative aesthetic. If your blog’s focus can be boosted with images or videos, then consider posting on Instagram, just as you would on Facebook.

Promoting some types of blog content are a no-brainer on Instagram. For example, if you’re blogging about (and later authoring a book on) interior design or personal style, then Instagram is a social media platform match made in heaven.

7. Create YouTube Videos

For the brave among us, a great way to draw visitors to your blog is by posting a video about each post on YouTube. Not only will you get on-camera practice, which can help draw speaking gigs and media, you’ll also tap into a completely different audience than you’d be able to reach just by writing.

If this sounds “not you” or too scary, then spend some time making practice videos before pushing them live. Ask a trusted friend to give you constructive criticism.

Practice makes perfect! Just don’t expect to be perfect on your first try. It’s okay to stink up the place while you’re learning.

8. Share the Wealth with Buttons

Configure your blog’s settings to display “Share” buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social media platforms which appeal to you and your audience. If your blog content is shareable with just the click of a virtual button, then your audience will be more likely to share with their own friends.

When you’re creating your blog set-up and drafting posts, do everything you can to make ease of shareability a priority. It may take more legwork up front, but it will be worth it in the end. Add a call-to-action at the end of each post, whether that’s to sign up for your email newsletter, or to share a post you’re particularly proud of on social media.

Knowing how to get your blog noticed is a matter of confidence—you have to put yourself out there to build an audience. With our easy steps, you’re on your way to making sure your blog becomes a must-share.

Like this post? Sign up for our FREE course below, and become a bestselling author in 90 days!

Amazon Book Description

Amazon Book Description HTML: Making Words Look Better

Have you ever seen an Amazon Book description that looked absolutely stellar? Nice big words, perfect layout, well structured?

Well, there’s a secret to how self-publishers are making it look that way. They’re using Amazon’s approved HTML. That’s right…they’re coding it to look that way, and you could too.

By adding a little code to your book description, your sentences can now be bold, underlined, or even bigger in size.

As you can see, there is a clear difference between a well-structured book description using Amazon’s HTML and a book description that doesn’t use HTML.

Amazon HTML

And it isn’t as simple as writing it in Word Document and copying and pasting…nope. That well-formatted beauty requires a little HTML love.

So, in this article, I’m going to show you exactly how you can tap into this even if you know nothing about HTML or CSS—and I’ll also introduce you to a free book description tool that will help you build beautiful, eye-catching descriptions so that your book will stand out and get even more customers.

Amazon Book Description Tips

Lucky for us, Amazon allows us to use special snippets of code to access their font styles…all you need to do is type the right things around your book description sentences to make your book description words stand out and look great.

To do this, let’s first look at what you’re allowed to do:

Amazon HTML Tags

Don’t worry if you don’t know what all that means because I’ll show you.

To get your words to do the above, all you need to do is sandwich your sentence or words with the <fill in the code> above and end your sentence or word with <fill in the code/>. (Don’t write “fill in the code”—instead, use the cheat sheet above to see what letters will make the change you’re seeking.)

HTML Examples for Each Tag

Now that you know how to wrap each tag around a sentence and which HTML tag you can use, let’s go through each, how it’s applied, and how it will look on the US Amazon Market.

Header Font Size:

To get the words to be larger, you’ll need to use the Header Tags which are <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, and <h6>. The H1 tag is the largest with H6 the smallest.

Let’s see what they look like when wrapped around a word:

Amazon Header Tags

Bold

To make a sentence or word bold, all you need to do is wrap that word or sentence with <b></b>

Like this: Self-Publishing School is <b>amazing</b>.

Amazon Bold Tag

Italics

To make a word in italics, you can use either <i> or <em>

Like this: Self-Publishing School is <i>amazing</i>.

italics Amazon description

Underline

Underline uses <u></u>

Like this: Self-Publishing School is <u>amazing</u>.

Amazon description underline

Horizontal Lines

If you want to separate some text with a horizontal line, all you have to do is add <hr> and it will look like this:

Amazon description line

Lists

There are two types of lists: Ordered lists and Unordered lists. Ordered lists are numbered 1, 2, 3, etc. Unordered lists are bullet point lists.

Unordered are denoted at the beginning using <ul> and their structure looks like this:

<ul>
<li>Unordered Item One</li>

<li>Unordered Item Two</li>

<li>Unordered Item Three</li>

</ul>

Unordered List Amazon description

Ordered Lists are denoted by the <ol> and their structure looks like this:

<ol>

<li>Ordered Item One</li>

<li>Ordered Item Two</li>

<li>Ordered Item Three</li>

</ol>

ordered list amazon description

Free Amazon Description Generator Tool

Hand coding your own book description can be tedious. That’s why I designed a special free software that lets you see real time what your description will look like. It’s called the Amazon Book Description Generator.

Amazon Description Generator

Just type in or copy and paste your book description, highlight a section, and click the button to make it look the way you want it.

Once you’ve gotten it the way you like, then just click the button “Get My Code” and it will automatically create the HTML code you need to make your description look like you designed it.

Then take that code, go to the KDP bookshelf and update your book’s description.

Examples of Well Formatted Book Descriptions

So as to help you get your creative juices flowing, here are some examples of other books who have used book description formatting and taken it to the next level:

Chandler Bolt’s Book Launch: Clean, and effectively uses the bold feature to highlight the most important words. That way, those that skim the description will immediately see the parts that Chandler wants you to see.

Patrick King’s Conversion Tactics: One of the most effectively uses of underline as well as neatly organized information with bullet points. One thing I really think that Patrick has rocked with this is his final sentence, the Call to Action (CTA). It leaves a strong lasting impression and how can you NOT see it?

Steve Scott’s Learn Email Marketing Blueprint: Again, a well laid out description that highlights the right spots and makes it easy on the eyes. But my favorite part about his book description is the first paragraph. That paragraph shows up even before the person clicks “read more.” Basically, Steve has made it so that his most catching hook is highlighted, and featured right smack dab at the top of his sales page. Nice move.

Conclusion

So, now that you know what is allowed by Amazon, how to code HTML for book descriptions and a cool tool that is completely free that will do it for you, it’s time you get started in creating your book descriptions.

Once you’ve created a savvy looking book description, comment below with your book’s link, and I’ll check it out and respond.

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

Any new writer wonders the same question: How long will it take to finish my book? The definitive answer is: It depends.

According to a panelist survey of famous authors, when asked how long it took for them to produce their novels, the answers ranged from between four years to a decade. In other words, “Writing a novel takes as long as you want or need it to take.”

Here at Self-Publishing School, we beg to differ. Our students routinely crank out bestsellers in 90 days, with the first-draft writing process taking as little as 30 days. (No, we’re not making that up!)

While the temptation can be to spend years, even decades, honing and polishing your book, a rough draft sitting on your hard drive isn’t working for you. It’s not building your author name, furthering your cause, or growing your audience. Moreover, it’s not earning you a single cent.

How long does it take to write a book?

We have amazing news: Writing YOUR book can take far less time than you think. You just need to know the tricks to get moving and stay moving.

The faster you get your book finished, the sooner you can realize your goals. And once the publication ball starts rolling, the positive energy will continue.

Your readership will grow with each book, so that with each new publication, you’re building your fan base. If a fan finds and loves your fourth book, they’ll go back and read books one through three, earning you even more accolades and more financial gain.

The bottom line is this: You need to prioritize getting your first draft finished as quickly as your life, time, and circumstances allow. It may not be easy, but it’s not impossible.

Read on for tips to supercharge your own writing process so you’ll hit “publish” before you know it.

1. Choose a Deadline

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” – Philip Roth

It’s no secret that knowing when to stop writing can be the hardest part of actually writing. You can write forever, and never have a clear end in sight. Part of becoming a published author is knowing when to wrap it up.

Setting a final deadline means that you’ll have a finish line in mind, and that can put the pressure on to keep the forward momentum going and finish what you started.

Here’s what to do: Set a deadline, right now, for your book-writing project. Set it somewhere between 30 and 90 days…that’s right, before you get started, you want to have a clear deadline set out for the completion of your draft.

Mark it somewhere you can see it every day. Your end date will help you stay on track.

Another recommendation is to hire your editor and schedule them for your deadline. That way, you have one more motivating factor to keep the writing ball rolling.

2. Set Concrete Goals

One of the best ways to keep your writing moving is to set word count goals for yourself. The idea behind word count goals is that if you set up parameters for your own success, you’ll be more likely to achieve those goals.

If you don’t have concrete, defined goals, then it’s that much easier to procrastinate, and then your pages might get done…someday. Or not.

Word count goals also serve the purpose of setting up a visual aid and reward system. It feels amazing to cross things off your list. So, document your achievements. Write down your daily, weekly, and monthly word count goals, then take a red marker and draw a big red line through each accomplishment when you’re finished.

What should your daily word count be? We suggest aiming for 500-1,000 words per day; that’s about one hour per day. If you stick with a word count goal of 1,000 words per day, at the end of 30 days, you’ll be looking at your completed 30,000 word first draft!

3. Find Your People

A supportive community can be a sounding board, a first pair of eyes, and a protector of your sanity. They can also be the extrinsic motivation you need to meet your own deadlines and word counts. When you know you have a team backing you up, it’s that much harder to drag your feet. They expect great things from you—don’t disappoint them!

Want my best Done-For-You Plans to finish your book faster?

I’m opening up my vault of step-by-step Action Plans and private community of authors to help you get unstuck, stay on track, and finish your book faster.
Click here to learn more now!

4. Work at Warp Speed

Here’s the idea: Drafting at lightning speed will prevent you from taking decades to finish your book. As we already talked about, you CAN write a book in 30 to 90 days!

The faster you write, the easier it will be meet your goals. Here are some simple tricks to boost your writing speed:

  • Write every day.
  • Adhere to your set writing routine.
  • Don’t get stuck, move on to another section if you’re floundering.
  • Limit research so you move forward with your pages.
  • Plan weekly meetings with a partner to cheer you on.

5. Prioritize Yourself

One of the hardest things to do is to put ourselves first. There are so many competing thing pulling at our time and energy. It can seem as though once we’ve met work, family, life, volunteer, and friend obligations, there’s little left over for ourselves.

We’re here to tell you that in order to write your book, you need to make the effort to be selfish, at least for a short block of time every day. Put yourself first. Make you your first priority. Get your book done—it will pay off. Not just monetarily, but in terms of life satisfaction and intrinsic rewards.

You can wake up half an hour earlier each morning, you can skip the social lunch at work and spend twenty minutes at your desk writing, you can use your subway ride to scribble pages—you get the idea. There’s time to be found, just make an effort to put yourself first and find it. You’ll be happy you did.

Don’t lose out on your dream of becoming a published author because you short-changed yourself. If you can carve out just a short window of time each day, you can make it happen. And it will feel fabulous when it does.

Ready to write your first book? Take our FREE video course and go from blank page to bestseller in 90 days. Sign up below.